One Art

This week’s “Economist” magazine includes a review of a new biography on one of America’s greatest poets ever: Elizabeth Bishop. 
Highlighted above is one of my favorite Bishop quotes, from her poem “One Art”:
“The art of losing isn’t hard to master;

so many things feel filled with the intent

to be lost that their loss is no disaster”

Yellow Tomatoes

 

I once thought I could know anything

 

The death knowledge of the Buddha

The clarifying call of Gabriel

Former lives and abetting suns

That enthrall worlds more able than mine

 

I too never doubted my time supply

To be the daughter to the dying father

Who buries without the blow of love regret

 

But my father is dying an excessive death

With a wounded body

That aligns rare moments of life

To the faint efforts of his mind

 

And I do

 

I offer my happy baby’s dance

Ask about our mayor and the bad president

So together

We can wave our related heads with a laugh

 

I bring home the foods he likes to eat

Chocolate sugar-free

A bag of sweet yellow tomatoes

That falls when his good hand forgets to grab

 

And when he insists on phoning my mother

Makes a promise that he won’t speak drink

I dial

 

I do I dance

 

Far from the Buddha knowledge of the giving death

Deaf to the recurring chant of Gabriel

Books by my bed and worlds of grace

That I grasp

But lack the good hand with which to grab

 


 

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El viaje de Borja

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Tomorrow is May 20th. A day I’ve been dreading because it is the last day to pre-order my book mid-life. Since pre-sales determine how many books will be published, tomorrow matters.

If any of you out there had any intention whatsoever of purchasing my book of poems, I would truly appreciate it if you did so before end of day tomorrow. Although the publishing house keeps all the sales proceeds, having a good pre-sale run is important for a writer. And I kind of hope to be that — a writer.

As always, thanks for reading!